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A launch pad for future business leaders

by Katharine de Vaal August 31, 2011
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…is the EA role back?

When I mention the term Executive Assistant to candidates here at FreshMinds Talent I often receive a slightly bewildered gaze in return.   Images of making haste through the crowded streets of New York, fetching hot lattes for demanding bosses in the Devil Wears Prada race through candidates’ minds.  And then I calmly explain that no, in fact the role of Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff as I prefer to call it, provides one of the most intimate platforms from which to gain insight into how the most senior business leaders make decisions and run organisations.   Varied project work, a fast paced environment and exposure to the most senior levels of a company are common elements of a great number of EA roles.

It was a shame therefore, that for the most part, last year saw a sharp decline in recruitment for these positions, perhaps seen as a luxury during leaner times.  It is with great pleasure that I can say that we are seeing a return of these often exceptional commercial opportunities.  I am cautiously optimistic that this is a sign that organisations are once again looking to place high flying talent into roles that will essentially groom them to become future business leaders.   This investment in future talent provides a refreshing change from the reactive filling of positions that has been more of the norm this past year.

I am a great believer in the power of the experience gained by spending a few years of your career in an EA role, and hope that this sign of a return only continues to gather momentum.

Katharine de Vaal is a senior consultant in FreshMinds Talent Select business.

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